If you love working in films but prefer being behind the scenes, a career in film editing might be for you. Film editors take video clips and work them together to make a seamless production. It’s satisfying and creative work that pays a good salary. Here’s what you need to become a film editor.

1. Understanding Editing Software Is a Must

Nicholas Otto-Bernstein knows how to use Adobe Premiere and Adobe Audition editing software. You, too, must become familiar with different editing software programs if you want to work as a video editor. Take courses online and through vocational training schools.

Some of the best video editing programs include Adobe Premiere as well as Apple Final Cut Pro. Apple’s iMovie is also an excellent choice along with Cyberlink PowerDirector 365. Good working knowledge of these programs opens doors and helps you find a great video editing job.

2. Earning a Bachelor’s Degree Helps

While a degree in film editing isn’t required, it helps. Many universities offer degree programs in broadcasting and filmmaking as well as video production and media communications. College programs provide you with practical experience and open the doors to internships offering real-world experience.

3. Studying the Work of Others Hones Your Skills

The best way to learn how to be a great film editor is by studying the work of others in the business. Watch award-winning films. Study them to see what makes them stand out. Watch the classics as well to learn what works and what doesn’t. Analyze how these films were edited.

4. Finding an Apprenticeship Gives You Experience

An apprenticeship in the film industry is a great way to get practical experience and meet others in the industry. An apprenticeship is also a stepping stone into a full-time job. If you’re in college, find an apprenticeship by going to your career coordinator and asking about them.

Also, visit the websites of major film studios. Smaller production companies have openings as well. Other places to check can include production guilds and nonprofit organizations as well as film councils. You might even consider volunteering for an indie film to gain experience. The U.S. Department of Labor’s apprentice website is another source of apprentice positions.

5. Practicing Your Skills Helps You Master Them

Software skills are a lot like a foreign language. If you don’t practice them regularly, you’ll lose them, so practice your video editing skills every day. Work with others to make low-budget films or offer to edit films for a small business or church. There are many ways to find the right nonprofit organization for you, including websites like VolunteerMatch.org. When considering a nonprofit, think about the time you want to contribute, and be careful about an organization that is too far away from home. Spending hours on the road can lead to burnout.

Finding work as an editor can be a rewarding vocation that is both intellectually challenging and creative. It’s a great way to meet people and make beautiful films others enjoy. Having the right skills and training ensures steady employment.